Saturday, September 22, 2007

Puasa Month Identity Crisis

It's been 10 days plus since the fasting month started. This year its been tougher since I've been spending quite some time outdoors and I'm all tanned up, resulting in one Malay looking Chindian.

I realised this when the Pak Cik in the food court of the office just stared at me from the moment I sauntered in at 12.30pm and started piling my plate with some greasy lunch till I went to the counter to pay. Of course my first reaction to anyone staring at me was to check if my fly was open. A quick glance ensured me that Little Chindy didn't have an escape route. Back to Pak Cik and he had gone on to serving some ladies behind me while I did my zipper inspection.

The second sign was when I went to Chinese chap fan joint and the lady in the counter asked me in English what I wanted. The drinks dude also asked me in English and politely at that! And these are folks who always used to speak to me in Cantonese in the past! I think the English was just make it 100% that if anyone was there from some government departments they could say that they spoke to me in English because I didn't look Malay?

I've stopped being rebellious at the mistaken identities during Puasa month. At one point I used to mentally dare people to ask for my ID. No one did. I just got bad service or stares. Only McDonald's staff have actually asked me nicely and apologetically if I was Muslim.

A long time ago, when i was in a Chinese coffeshop with a friend in Pertama Complex, 2 cops who saw me waited outside for an hour till I came out. As they walked towards us my friend knowing I was waiting for some drama wisely put his arm around me and started talking animatedly to me in Cantonese. Unsure, the cops stopped and walked away, which deflated my excitement at whipping out my ID in front of them with some choice words.

The most embarrassing and a little tense filled occasion again in one of those years gone by,was when I rushed into a McDonald's on the first day of Puasa which of course i had forgotten. I was also at that point blissfully unaware that it was like 10 minutes bofore the official time to break fast. ) I got pissed off at the unexpectedly long lines, bought my burger, whipped it out and started chomping on it. The whole outlet suddenly grew quiet. I looked up and I realised although I looked like an Abdul Chindiana, I was the only Muslim in the whole place! My jaw literally dropped. I wrapped up my burger, mumbled something about "saya campur" which probably didn't help the situation, and walked quickly out and finished my Chicken Burger in the fire escape.

The Eurasion friends who look Malay especially the women suddenly seem to discover a new found strength in their faith. The love hearts on the necklaces become crosses or the crosses become bigger. Some even go for that cleavage action because no self respecting Muslim woman would be seen flounting her Yayas during the fasting month.

I've come to realise that it's not their fault if Muslims or others think I'm Malay becomes sometimes I do look it. So now it's a case of prevention is better than a sulking/merajuk session by either party in case the case of mistaken identity does blow out of proportion. Damn, I'm getting old.....


Nex said...

Do what my Filipino friend who look like a typical Mat Melayu does: Wear only brightly coloured, touristy Hawaiian shirts when out and about during the month of Ramadan.

Or let your beard grow and wear a turban? :P

Chindiana said...

I don't think it will be in semenanjung la, these colourful shirts.

And only Sikhs can look like Sikhs in turban and beards. I'd prob piss myself if I saw a Filipino walking down the street dressed up as a Bai fler!

Han Solo said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry. I hate it when my other malay-looking friends tell me these things and it makes me feel bad, especially if the experience pisses them off or they feel embarrased. These policemen and Jakim chaps could be be doing more worthwhile things than looking for people who eat, honestly. It annoys me what they do sometimes.

Chindiana said...

I'm ok with it after all this while. Used to it already. But I always did wonder if they would apologise nicely afterwards or just grunt and move on.

Vicky said...

Just wear a big cross! They won't even give you a second glance.

Chindiana said...

Yeah, but my Mum will merajuk with me then ler. She's a proud Hindu.